A new study by the University of California’s Holly Shakya and Nicholas Christakis from Yale has suggested that regular Facebook use actually decreases users’ happiness levels. That’s not just because Facebook sugarcoats the world, only showing the best of peoples’ lives and making your own rough days seem worse. It’s apparently also because no matter how many ‘Likes’ you get, it’s never enough.
The research, which tracked 5000 US adults for three years between 2013 and 2015, compared users’ Facebook habits against information on their physical and mental health, weight, and general well-being. Worryingly, it found that for every 1% rise in the number of ‘Likes’, link clicks and status updates a user made, their self-reported mental health dropped by 5-8%.
Looking at how Facebook’s impact compares with real world interactions, the study showed that actually meeting friends had the opposite effect, lifting users’ moods by a similar figure.